Filling the Void: Sinkhole Repair Following Hurricane Harvey

09 October 2017
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By Mark Williams / Managing Director, Diagnostics Houston

A vital component of the Harris County Toll Road system incurred significant flooding during Hurricane Harvey, resulting in a large sinkhole at the intersection of Boheme and Beltway 8 in Houston, Texas. The sinkhole developed on the backside of the retaining wall, compromising the tie-back retention system. Water entered the depressed roadway through wall and pavement joints. The Harris County Toll Road Authority turned to Walter P Moore for emergency response and a quick solution to reviving one of Houston’s main traffic arteries.

First, the water flooding the roadway had to be slowly pumped out. Then, Walter P Moore carefully monitored the wall condition to ensure that the water pressure was equalized on both sides of the wall. Additionally, Walter P Moore designed a temporary wall stabilization system made from 120 braces to provide support while flowable fill was added to replace the soil lost in the sinkhole. Once the flowable fill was set, the braces were quickly removed.

Walter P Moore and roadway construction crews worked around the clock to complete the sinkhole repair in five days. Quickly returning the road to a safe and functioning capacity was a remarkable engineering achievement made possible by the team’s clear plan of action, teamwork, and critical communication.



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